Rhus lanceolata

Prairie Sumac - Rhus lanceolata
Ready Pay Mine Site
East of Hillsboro, NM
May 2016

On a recent walk to the Ready Pay mine site we discovered an apparent grove of Prairie Sumac, Rhus lanceolata.  The species is native (and not rare) in Doña Ana county, so seeing the species here is not that unexpected - perhaps simply undocumented.  The USDA - NRCS site indicates a range which also includes Arizona.  In Mexico, the species is found in Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.

In some sources, this species is still considered a variety of Winged Sumac - Rhus copallinum var. lanceolata. It goes by a variety of common names including; Prairie Flameleaf Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac, Prairie Sumac, Lance-leaf Sumac, Texas Sumac, Tree Sumac, Limestone Sumac, and Prairie Shining Sumac.

The specimen (sheet below) was collected in Mexico.  The species was first described by Asa Gray in 1850 as Rhus copallinum var. lanceolata.  In 1908 Nathaniel Lord Britton described it as the full species we use here.  Britton was a cofounder of the New York Botanical Garden.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023